Fishing Glossary - Anglers Gear Knowledge Base

If you are just starting out fishing, or want to learn more about the sport, you may find yourself confused about some of the terminology. This fishing glossary will help clear up any confusion and provide you with a base knowledge of anglers’ gear.

From baits to rods and reels, we’ll cover it all! So, whether you’re gearing up for your first fishing trip or just want to be a more informed angler, read on.

Fishing Hooks Glossary

barbless: A type of fishing hook that does not have a barb. Barbless hooks are often used in areas where there are restrictions on the use of barbed hooks.

barbed: A type of fishing hook that has a small, sharp point at the end. Barbed hooks are often used to catch a fish such as trout and bass.

baitholder: A type of fishing hook that has two points and is often used to catch baitfish. Baitholder hooks are also known as “snelling” hooks.

beak: A type of fishing hook that is shaped like a bird’s beak. Beak hooks are often used to catch a fish such as salmon and trout.

circle: A type of fishing hook that is shaped like a circle. Circle hooks are often used to catch a fish such as tuna and swordfish.

dropper: A type of fishing hook that is attached to the main line by a small piece of line. Dropper hooks are often used to catch baitfish.

eye: The loop at the end of a fishing line or lure that is used to attach the line or lure to the main line. Eyes can be either open or closed.

gaff: A long pole with a hook on the end that is used to pull fish out of the water. Gaffs are often used to catch large fish such as sharks and tuna.

gangion: A type of fishing hook that has two or more hooks attached to a single shank. Gangion hooks are often used in trolling applications.

jig: A type of fishing lure that is often used to catch a fish such as bass and crappie. Jigs typically have a lead head and a soft body.

live bait: A type of bait that is still alive when it is used. Live bait can be either fresh or saltwater species.

lure: A type of device that is used to attract fish so they can be caught. Lures come in many different shapes and sizes and can be made from a variety of materials.

minnow: A small fish that is often used as bait. Minnows can be either fresh or saltwater species.

natural bait: A type of bait that is made from a natural material, such as worms or insects. Natural bait is often used to catch a fish such as bass and trout.

offset: A type of fishing hook that has the point offset from the shank. Offset hooks are often used to catch a fish such as catfish and carp.

open eye: An eye at the end of a fishing line or lure that is not closed. Open eyes are often used to attach the line or lure it to the main line.

plugs: A type of fishing lure that is designed to resemble a baitfish. Plugs are often used to catch a fish such as bass and pike.

popper: A type of fishing lure that is designed to create a “popping” sound when it is retrieved. Poppers are often used to catch a fish such as bass and panfish.

sinker: A type of weight that is used to sink the bait or lure. Sinkers come in many different sizes and shapes and can be made from a variety of materials.

soft plastic lures: A type of fishing lure that is made from a soft, pliable material. Soft plastics are often used to catch fish such as bass and crappie.

spinner: A type of fishing lure that has a metal blade that spins when it is retrieved. Spinners are often used to catch fish such as trout and bass.

spoon: A type of fishing lure that is shaped like a spoon. Spoons are often used to catch fish such as trout and salmon.

swivel: A device that is used to attach the line to the lure or bait. Swivels help prevent the line from becoming tangled.

teaser: A type of fishing lure that is designed to attract fish so they can be caught. Teasers come in many different shapes and sizes and can be made from a variety of materials.

terminal tackle: The various pieces of equipment that are used to rig a fishing line, such as hooks, sinkers, and swivels. Terminal tackle can be either fresh or saltwater.

trolling: A type of fishing where the bait or lure is drawn through the water behind a moving boat. Trolling is often used to catch fish such as salmon and trout.

weight: A device that is used to sink the bait or lure. Weights come in many different sizes and shapes and can be made from a variety of materials.

whip: A long, flexible rod that is used to cast the line. Whips are often used in fly fishing applications.

zipper: A type of fishing line that is made from a braided material. Zippers are often used in trolling applications.

Fishing Reels Glossary

bail: A device on a fishing reel that is used to release the line. Bails can be either manual or automatic.

bearing: A device that helps a fishing reel spin smoothly. Bearings are often made from stainless steel or other durable materials.

big game reel: A type of fishing reel that is designed for use with big game fish. Big game reels are often made from heavy-duty materials and have large drag systems.

casting reel: A type of fishing reel that is designed for casting bait or lures. Casting reels can be either spinning or baitcasting types.

drag: A device on a fishing reel that is used to control the amount of line that is released. Drag systems can be either manual or automatic.

fly reel: A type of fishing reel that is designed for use with fly fishing. Fly reels are often made from lightweight materials and have large arbors.

game fish: A type of fish that is sought after by anglers. Game fish include species such as bass, trout, and salmon.

gear ratio: The ratio of the number of times the spool revolves in one turn of the handle. Gear ratios can be either high or low.

gimbal: A device on a rod that helps keep the reel in place. Gimbal devices can be either built-in or removable.

level wind reel: A type of casting reel that has a device that helps keep the line level on the spool. Level wind reels are often used for trolling applications.

line capacity: The amount of line that a fishing reel can hold. Line capacity is typically measured in yards or meters.

overhead reel: A type of fishing reel that is designed for use with overhead rods. Overhead reels are often made from heavy-duty materials and have large drag systems.

Penn reel: A type of fishing reel that is manufactured by the PENN Fishing Reel Company. PENN reels are available in a variety of models and sizes.

reel seat: The part of the rod where the reel is attached. Reel seats can be either fixed or sliding.

spincast reel: A type of fishing reel that has a closed face and is designed for casting bait or lures. Spincast reels are often used by novice anglers.

spinning reel: A type of fishing reel that has an open face and is designed for casting bait or lures. Spinning reels can be either fixed spool or live spool types.

star drag reel: A type of fishing reel that has a star-shaped drag knob. Star drag reels are often used in saltwater applications.

trolling reel: A type of fishing reel that is designed for use when trolling. Trolling reels are often made from heavy-duty materials and have large drag systems.

Fishing Rods Glossary

action: The amount of bend in a rod when it is under load. Fishing rod action is typically classified as slow, medium, or fast.

blank: The un-finished shaft of a rod. Blanks are made from a variety of materials including fiberglass and graphite.

butt: The larger, bottom end of a rod. Butts can be either solid or hollow.

eye: The small ring at the end of the fishing line that is used to attach the lure or bait. Eyes can be either barbed or un-barbed.

ferrule: The small metal connector that is used to join two sections of a rod together. Ferrules can be either male or female.

graphite rod: A type of rod that is made from graphite. Graphite rods are often lighter and more sensitive than other types of fishing rods.

grip: The part of the fishing rod that is held by the angler. Grips can be made from a variety of materials including cork and EVA foam.

guide: The small ring that is used to keep the fishing line in place on the rod. Guides can be made from a variety of materials including ceramic and stainless steel.

rod blank: The unfinished shaft of a rod. Rod blanks are made from a variety of materials including fiberglass and graphite.

rod tip: The smaller, top end of a rod. Rod tips can be either solid or hollow.

spinning rod: A type of fishing rod that is designed for use with spinning reels. Spinning rods are often made from graphite or fiberglass.

trigger grip: A type of fishing rod grip that has a trigger-like mechanism. Trigger grips can be used to hold the rod while casting or reeling in a fish.

tube: The small, cylindrical case that is used to store and transport a rod. Tubes can be made from a variety of materials including aluminum and PVC.

casting rod: A type of rod that is designed for use with casting reels. Casting rods are often made from graphite or fiberglass.

fly rod: A type of rod that is designed for use with fly reels. Fly rods are often made from graphite or fiberglass.

jigging rod: A type of rod that is designed for use with jigging reels. Jigging rods are often made from graphite or fiberglass.

trolling rod: A type of rod that is designed for use with trolling reels. Trolling rods are often made from graphite or fiberglass.

Fishing Lures Glossary

artificial bait: A type of lure that is designed to resemble a natural baitfish. Artificial baits can be either hard or soft-bodied.

baitfish: A small fish that is used as bait for larger predators. Baitfish can be either alive or dead.

blade bait: A type of lure that is designed to resemble a small baitfish. Blade baits typically have one or more blades that spin as they are retrieved.

crankbait: A type of lure that is designed to resemble a small baitfish. Crankbaits typically have a deep-diving lip that allows them to be fished at depths of 10 feet or more.

jig: A type of lure that consists of a weighted head and a soft body. Jigs can be used with a variety of Rigging methods.

lure: A device that is used to attract fishes so that they can be caught. Lures come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and can be made from a variety of materials including wood, plastic, and metal.

minnow: A small baitfish that is used as bait for larger predators. Minnows can be either alive or dead.

plastic worm: A type of lure that is designed to resemble a small worm. Plastic worms are often used in Texas rig fishing.

spinnerbait: A type of lure that consists of a spinning blade. Spinnerbaits can be used with a variety of retrieve methods.

topwater lure: A type of lure that is designed to float on the surface of the water. Topwater lures are often used to fish for Bass.

trout bait: A type of lure that is designed to resemble a small baitfish. Trout baits can be either hard or soft-bodied.

Fishing Brands Glossary

Abu Garcia: A Swedish company that manufactures a wide range of fishing products including rods, reels, and lures.

Berkley: An American company that manufactures a wide range of fishing products including lines, hooks, and lures.

Daiwa: A Japanese company that manufactures a wide range of fishing products including rods, reels, and lures.

Rapala: A Finnish company that manufactures a wide range of fishing products including lures, knives, and scales.

Shimano: A Japanese company that manufactures a wide range of fishing products including rods, reels, and lines.

Stren: An American company that manufactures a wide range of fishing line products.

Sunline: A Japanese company that manufactures a wide range of fishing lines.

Zebco: An American company that manufactures a wide range of fishing products including rods, reels, and lines.

Fishing Knots Glossary

blood knot: A knot that is used to join two pieces of fishing line together. Blood knots are typically used to join lines of similar diameters.

bowline knot: A knot that is used to create a loop at the end of a piece of fishing line. Bowline knots are often used for rigging live bait.

clinch knot: A knot that is used to tie a fishing hook to a piece of fishing line. Clinch knots are typically used with monofilament and fluorocarbon lines.

double overhand knot: A type of stopper knot that is used to prevent a lure or bait from sliding off the end of the line. Double overhand knots are often used with braided lines.

figure-eight knot: A type of stopper knot that is used to prevent a lure or bait from sliding off the end of the line. Figure-eight knots are often used with monofilament and fluorocarbon lines.

Palomar knot: A knot that is used to tie a fishing hook to a piece of fishing line. Palomar knots are typically used with monofilament and fluorocarbon lines.

san Diego jam knot: A type of knot that is used to tie a fishing hook to a piece of fishing line. San Diego jam knots are often used with braided lines.

surgeon’s knot: A type of knot that is used to tie two pieces of fishing line together. Surgeon knots are often used to join lines of different diameters.

uni-knot: A type of knot that is used to tie a fishing hook to a piece of fishing line. Uni-knots can be used with a variety of different types of lines.

wet knot: A type of knot that is used to tie a fishing hook to a piece of fishing line. Wet knots are typically used with monofilament and fluorocarbon lines.

Fishing Line Glossary

braided line: A type of fishing line that is made from multiple strands of material. Braided lines are often used for saltwater fishing.

fluorocarbon line: A type of fishing line that is made from a fluoropolymer material. Fluorocarbon lines are often used for freshwater fishing and as fly line.

monofilament line: A type of fishing line that is made from a single strand of material. Monofilament lines are often used for baitcasting reels.

Game Fish Glossary

bass: A type of freshwater fish that is popular among anglers. There are many different species of bass, including largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.

catfish: A type of freshwater fish that is popular among anglers. There are many different species of catfish, including channel catfish and blue catfish.

trout: A type of freshwater fish that is popular among anglers. There are many different species of trout, including rainbow trout and brown trout.

walleye: A type of freshwater fish that is popular among anglers. Walleyes are typically found in rivers and lakes.

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A

abandoned line: A fishing line that has been lost or discarded.

adipose fin: A small, fleshy fin located on the back of some fish species between the dorsal and caudal fins. Also called an adipose eyelid.

aftershocks: The smaller tremors that follow a major earthquake. They generally die down over time.

aggregate eggs: A group of eggs that are released by a female fish and fertilized by a male fish. The eggs stick together in a mass or cluster.

air bladder: A gas-filled sac located in the abdominal cavity of bony fishes. It helps the fish maintain its buoyancy.

alkaline: A water that has a pH level of more than 7.0. Alkaline waters are basic.

alluvial fan: A triangular-shaped deposit of sediment that forms when a stream flows from a narrow canyon onto a flat plain. Alluvial fans typically form in arid or semi-arid regions.

ambush predators: Animals that wait for their prey to come close before attacking. Ambush predators often have good camouflage to help them blend in with their surroundings.

anaerobic: Refers to an environment with little or no oxygen present. Most fish need oxygen to survive, so an anaerobic environment is not ideal for them.

anadromous fish: Fish that hatch in freshwater, migrate to saltwater to live and grow, and then return to freshwater to spawn. Salmon and eels are examples of anadromous fish.

anal fin: A fin located on the underside of a fish, behind the anus.

angler: A person who enjoys fishing.

artificial bait: A lure that is made to look like an animal or insect. Artificial baits are used to attract fishes so they can be caught.

B

baited area: An area where bait has been placed in order to attract fishes. Baited areas can be natural or man-made.

barb: A sharp, pointy projection extending from the main body of a hook. Barbs are used to keep the hook in place once it has been lodged in a fish’s mouth.

billfish: A type of fish that has a long, pointed bill or beak. Billfish include marlins, sailfish, and swordfish.

bleak: A small, silvery freshwater fish found in Europe and Asia. Bleaks are members of the carp family.

bottomfeeder: A fish that feeds on small animals and plants that live on or near the bottom of a body of water. Bottomfeeders use their mouths to suck up food from the sediment.

brackish: Water that is not as salty as seawater but is saltier than freshwater. Brackish water can be found where rivers meet the sea.

bucket mouth: A nickname for largemouth bass. Bucketmouths are freshwater fish that are popular among anglers.

C

caddisfly: A type of insect that lives in freshwater habitats. Caddisflies have a hard exoskeleton and long, delicate wings. They are often used as bait by anglers.

carp: A large, freshwater fish found in Europe and Asia. Carp are popular gamefish and are also raised for food.

catfish: A type of fish that has whiskers around its mouth. Catfish live in both freshwater and saltwater habitats. Some species of catfish can grow to be very large.

caudal peduncle: The narrow, stalk-like part of a fish’s body that connects the caudal fin to the main body.

caviar: The eggs of sturgeon and other fish that are eaten as a delicacy. Caviar is often served with crackers or bread.

chlorine: A chemical element that is used to disinfect water. Chlorine is added to many public water supplies in order to kill harmful bacteria.

chum: bait consisting of chopped fish or other bait, used for attracting fish so they can be caught. Chumming is a popular fishing technique, especially among saltwater anglers.

cold front: A boundary between two air masses, typically marked by a change in temperature. Cold fronts can cause changes in the weather, such as thunderstorms.

current: A flow of water in a particular direction. Currents can be caused by tides, winds, or other factors.

D

dorsal fin: A ridge of fins running along the back of a fish’s body. The dorsal fin helps to stabilize the fish while swimming.

E

elasmobranch: A type of fish that has a skeleton made of cartilage instead of bone. Sharks, rays, and skates are examples of elasmobranchs.

estuary: A semi-enclosed body of water where freshwater meets salt water. Estuaries are often found in the mouths of rivers.

F

fathom: A unit of measurement equal to six feet (1.8 meters). Fathoms are used to measure the depth of water.

fin: A thin, flat structure extending from the body of a fish that helps with swimming and balance. Fish have both dorsal fins and anal fins. Some also have pectoral fins and pelvic fins.

fish ladder: A series of steps or pools that allow fish to swim around obstacles, such as dams. Fish ladders make it possible for fish to migrate up or downstream.

fisherman: A person who catches fish for recreation or for food. Fishing is a popular hobby around the world.

fishing line: A length of string or other material used for fishing. Fishing lines are typically made from nylon, Kevlar, or other synthetic materials.

flood tide: The part of the tide cycle when the water is rising. Flood tides can last for several hours.

fly fishing: A type of fishing that uses a rod, reel, and line to cast an artificial fly (a lure) into the water. Fly fishing is a popular sport among anglers.

freshwater: Water that contains very little salt. Rivers, lakes, and ponds are all examples of freshwater habitats.

G

gamefish: A fish that is caught for recreation rather than for food. Gamefish include bass, trout, and salmon.

gill: A respiratory organ found in fish and other aquatic creatures. Gills allow fish to breathe underwater.

gill net: A type of fishing net that is used to catch a fish by their gills. Gill nets are often used in commercial fisheries.

goldfish: A type of freshwater fish that is popular in aquariums. Goldfish come in a variety of colors, including orange, white, and black.

H

hackle: The feathers on a fly that are used to imitate the legs or wings of an insect. Hackle feathers are typically tied onto the hook of a fly fishing lure.

harvest: The process of catching or collecting fish or other organisms from the wild. Harvesting is an important part of many commercial fisheries.

herbivore: An animal that eats only plants. Many fish are herbivores, feeding on algae and other aquatic plants.

hook: A sharp piece of metal or other material used for fishing. Hooks are typically baited with baitfish, worms, or other lures.

I

invertebrate: An animal without a backbone. Insects, crabs, and shrimp are all examples of invertebrates. Many fish feed on invertebrates.

J

jigging: A type of fishing in which the bait is jerked up and down in the water in order to attract fishes. Jigging is often used in deep-sea fishing.

K

kayak: A small, narrow boat that is propelled with a paddle. Kayaks are often used for fishing and recreation.

L

lacustrine: Of or relating to lakes. The term lacustrine is often used to describe lake ecosystems.

larvae: The juvenile stage of an insect or other creature. Many fish feed on insect larvae.

leader: A length of line that connects the bait to the main line. Leaders are typically made from lighter material than the main line.

lure: A type of bait that is used to attract fish. Lures come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be made from a variety of materials.

M

migrate: To move from one place to another on a regular basis. Many fish migrate in order to breed or to find food.

minnow: A small freshwater fish that is often used as bait. Minnows are found in lakes, rivers, and ponds around the world.

N

nektonic: Of or relating to swimming creatures that can move independently of currents or waves. Nektonic creatures include fish, squid, and jellyfish.

O

omnivore: An animal that eats both plants and animals. Humans are omnivores, as are some fish, such as catfish.

P

pelagic: Of or relating to the open ocean. The pelagic zone is the part of the ocean that is not near the shore.

plankton: Small, drifting creatures that live in water. Plankton includes algae, bacteria, and small crustaceans. Many fish feed on plankton.

pond: A small body of fresh water, often no more than a few acres in size. Ponds are found in many parks and gardens.

predator: An animal that hunts and kills other animals for food. Predators include lions, tigers, and sharks.

R

recreational fishing: Fishing that is done for sport or leisure rather than for commercial purposes. Recreational fishing is popular in many parts of the world.

S

salmon: A type of fish that is found in the oceans and in freshwater rivers and streams. Salmon is popular as a food fish and is also prized by anglers.

saltwater: Water that contains a high concentration of salt. The ocean is an example of a saltwater habitat.

scales: The thin, protective plates that cover the skin of many fish. Scales help to protect fish from predators and parasites.

set line: A type of fishing line that is set in the water and left unattended. Set lines are often used in commercial fisheries.

shad: A type of fish that is found in both freshwater and saltwater habitats. Shad is popular as a food fish and is also used as bait.

shelf ice: Thick sheets of ice that form along the coastline in cold weather. Shelf ice can be several feet thick and can extend for miles.

shore: The land that borders a body of water. The shoreline is the line where the land meets the water.

spawn: To lay eggs. Many fish species spawn in freshwater rivers and streams. The eggs are typically carried downstream to the ocean by the current.

spear: A long, sharpened piece of metal or wood that is used for fishing. Spears are often used to catch a fish in shallow water.

species: A group of living organisms that can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. There are thousands of species of fish.

spinner: A type of lure that has a rotating blade that reflects light. Spinners are often used to catch trout and other fish.

stocking: The process of adding fish to a body of water. stocking is often done in order to increase the number of fish available for sport or commercial fishing.

submersible: Capable of being submerged in water. Submersible vessels include submarines and some types of fishing boats.

T

tailwater: The part of a river or stream that is downstream from a dam or other obstruction. Tailwaters are often deep and fast-flowing.

trolling: A type of fishing in which bait is towed behind a boat. Trolling is often used to catch a fish such as salmon and trout.

U

underwater: Below the surface of the water. Many fish live in underwater habitats, such as reefs and lakes.

W

waders: A type of clothing that is worn by anglers and others who need to wade in the water. Waders are typically made of rubber or neoprene.

watershed: An area of land that drains into a particular body of water. Watersheds can be small, such as a stream, or large, such as a river basin.

whipping: A type of fishing in which the line is whipped through the air to cast the bait. Whipping is often used to catch q fish such as bass and pike.

wireline: A type of fishing line that is made of metal wire. Wireline is often used in commercial fisheries.

yarn: A type of thread or string that is made from natural or synthetic fibers. Yarn is often used to make fishing lures.

zebra mussel: A type of freshwater mussel that is native to Europe. Zebra mussels have been introduced to many other parts of the world, including North America. They are a major pest species and can clog water pipes and other infrastructure.